Sunday, June 17, 2007

Perspective: Surge of optimism recedes

Above: Young Iraqis submit to body searches by soldiers from the 2nd brigade, 12th Infantry Division in Baghdad on Friday.

BAGHDAD — Hassan Shimari rarely goes out without his 4-year-old son, not out of fatherly devotion but because he knows there is less chance of being abducted and killed by militiamen if he has the little boy in tow.

Two months ago, even as a Sunni man living in a mainly Shiite district of Baghdad, Shimari had no such fears. In an interview in mid-April, he praised the U.S.-led military "surge" launched in February and said that for the first time in months, he felt safe.

Shimari's change of heart, based on the reappearance of roaming Shiite militiamen and corpses on the streets of his Shaab district, is a small but noteworthy sign of the security plan's failure. "You never know when they are going to take someone and put them in the trunk of the car," Shimari said of the militias. "The killings, it seems, have returned."

Read the rest at the LA Times